Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

waterReviewed by Laura Walters, Associate Director for Teaching, Research, and Information Resources, Tisch Library.

Did you dream of joining the circus when you were a child?  Did you want to be an elephant trainer or the beautiful woman on the flying trapeze?  If so, you should enter the world of Water for Elephants, a novel that chronicles life in a second-rate circus crossing America in 1932.  From the moment 22-year old Jacob jumps on a train to escape his grief at his parents’ death, we are enveloped in a world that we have only dreamed about.  Reality is much harsher than dreams, and Jacob has to deal with a sadistic ring leader and a brutal circus owner as he struggles to protect the people and the animals he comes to love.  The novel alternates in time between Jacob at 22 and at 93, and the passages involving the elderly Jacob beautifully capture the pathos and nostalgia of a man reflecting on his life’s journey.

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3607.R696 W38 2007
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